A question from the floor

I read once that the original language of the Beatitudes was not ‘blessed are…’ or ‘happy are the single-hearted, or those who work for peace, or those who struggle for justice.’ The more precise translation is ‘you’re in the right place if…”. And I like that better, because it turns out the Beatitudes is not a spirituality—it’s a geography. It tells you where to stand.

You’re in the right place if you’re over here. […] It’s about location. You really have to go out. But knowing that service is the hallway that leads to the ballroom – you don’t want service to be the end. It’s the beginning. It’s getting you to the ballroom which is the place of kinship. The place of mutuality. […] It doesn’t happen unless you break out. Fear is just fuelled by ignorance, and so you have to break out of your ignorance. You have to go to a place that frightens us. […]

Look before you leap, but leap.

This is an excerpt taken from a podcast episode from On Being – The Calling of Delight: Gangs, Service and Kinship – where Krista Tippett interviews Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, a priest famous for his gang interventions in Los Angeles. The quote above constitutes a big part of his answer to a question from the floor raised by young woman: “How do you combat the fear of love and compassion?”

Listen to the full episode on the On Being website here.

Addendum: “In the end, it’s about something. It’s about kinship. It’s about [that] Oscar-winning attitude in a waitress. That you may be one. That’s the whole thing. That God has created an otherness, so that you may bump into each other.”


You must learn him.

You must know the reason why he is silent. You must trace his weakest spots. You must write to him. You must remind him that you are there. You must know how long it takes for him to give up. You must be there to hold him when he is about to.

You must love him because many have tried and failed. And he wants to know that he is worthy to be loved, that he is worthy to be kept.

And, this is how you keep him.

(Originally from This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Díaz. Pronouns were originally female. This speaks to my heart, regardless of what the gender of the pronoun is.)